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I-Team: Parents Plan Lawsuit over Green Valley High School Plays | News

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I-Team: Parents Plan Lawsuit over Green Valley High School Plays
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A group of Las Vegas valley parents intend to take legal action to keep two theatrical productions off the Green Valley High School stage. The parents insist the school renditions of Rent and the Laramie Project are too adult and their inclusion violates school district policy.

The Green Valley High School theatre department has chosen controversy, compassion and courage as the theme for this year's season, listing the school editions of Rent and the Laramie Project among its eight productions. Both contain mature content, but the dispute is whether that content is suitable for high school students.

Under the guidance of theatre teacher Jennifer Hemme, the GVHS cast of Rent, the School Edition, engages in character for the first time. The students seem unconcerned with the drama unfolding off stage that may ultimately threaten their performance.

"I don't think it's age appropriate for her," said parent Mel Grimes.

A group of concerned parents objects to the mature content found in Rent and the Laramie Project. Though both have been adapted for a younger audience, the plays involve issues like AIDS, homosexuality and drug abuse.

"It's taking the right of the parents of how to raise their children by exposing them to things that we may not want our children to have exposure to at this time or on this venue in a glamorized place on the stage," said parent Rick Magness.

The group, including Green Valley dad and attorney Cory Hilton, has asked school principal Jeff Horn to cease and desist both productions. In his response, Horn assured Hilton no student may perform without written parental permission and none will be required to watch the plays for academic credit.

Hilton however remains unconvinced. "Is there some less intrusive alternative and isn't there here? Why is it all of a sudden they have decided to select two productions that are full of nothing but adult content," he said.

"I don't think for most students this is particularly radical material," said parent Peter Stoddard.

"There's some things that I'm like, ‘Hmm. I hope they're not going to do that on stage,' but it is a high school production. It has been toned way down for that purpose. If she was going to have them up there and smoke pot, yeah, I'd be a little concerned. But clearly that's not going to happen," said parent Kim Morse.

"I have no problem with the other parents who decide to withhold. They have that right just like we have a right to push forward," said parent James Smith.

And that's exactly what the students plan to do. They're proceeding with rehearsal, counting down the minutes to opening night.

Hilton says he will ask a judge to shut down the plays, citing, in part, the Clark County School District's own policy related to movies. It forbids any movie above a PG rating in the schools. The movie version of Rent is PG-13.

Horn points out plays are not movies and the school edition of Rent doesn't have a rating.

The school district tells the I-Team it is monitoring the situation. School Board President Teri Janison says she has not received any complaints regarding the plays.

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